Just getting through high school in one piece is hard enough, but to get into the college of your choice, you really have to keep many plates spinning at once. One plate to spin is the cost of college. And one way to help cut the cost of college is to earn scholarships based on ACT scores.

College is one of the biggest-ticket items you’ll pay for throughout your whole life, so you will probably get the funding through a combination of sources: savings, loans, and grants. Scholarships, particularly those earned by achieving a certain score on standardized tests, is just one way to lower the total cost.

Much of the financial aid (loans and grants) you receive will be need-based. This means the aid is granted based on your financial circumstances (your particular academic qualifications are not taken into account).  You can read more about the FAFSA here.

However, there are also many scholarships out there for students based on academic and extracurricular strengths and interests. You can see some examples of those scholarships here.

One group of merit-based financial aid you should consider are scholarships based on your performance on standardized tests. You are probably already working hard to keep your GPA up in school, and you’ll have to take the SAT or the ACT to get into college, anyway. If you take the ACT, there may be scholarships available to you based on your score. Some ACT scholarships do not even require additional information other than your transcripts and scores; that is, they are based purely on the numbers. If you need help boosting your ACT score, this complete guide to the ACT will be useful.

These ACT scholarships should provide some extra motivation for preparing for your test and scoring well beyond simply getting into the college of your choice!

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How to Find ACT Scholarships

Many of the scholarships based on ACT (or SAT) scores are provided by colleges. For that reason, most of the legwork is going to be left to you to find scholarships that are right for you, because there are so many out there and they are always changing.

1. Make a list of schools you plan to apply to

Keep this list relatively manageable. If you put 40 colleges on your list, you’ll become overwhelmed and you’ll have to narrow it down anyway. For the purpose of this process, cap the list at 15 schools. You may have a few you are primarily interested in, but in order to look for scholarships, you should also inc